John Stephen Zimmer

Obituary of John Stephen Zimmer

John Stephen Zimmer 1933 – 2021 It is with profound sorrow that the family of John Stephen Zimmer announces his passing. He went peacefully on February 18, 2021 in Fort Erie, Ontario. John was born on June 11, 1933 in Budapest, Hungary to Anthony and Margaret Zimmer. He and his family came to Canada as refugees in 1948, a few days before Christmas, and settled in Port Colborne, Ontario. He worked hard to help support his family during those years. John was involved in the local Hungarian community. He was a gifted singer and was active in the Port Colborne Operatic Society for many years. It was there that he met the love of his life, Phyllis Shibley, in the show “Annie Get Your Gun.” They were married on August 29, 1959. Always willing to help others achieve their potential, John spent his career in the Training and Development Department of Inco (in Port Colborne and Sudbury) and the Apprenticeship Program for the Ontario Provincial Government. His talent and patience were always appreciated. John constantly worked to upgrade his own skills, taking several courses over the years and later teaching students at both Niagara College in Welland and Cambridge College in Sudbury. He was a skilled plumber, electrician and carpenter. There was nothing John couldn’t design, build or fix. John was an avid chess player. He also loved music, poetry and skiing. He and Phyllis enjoyed traveling throughout Europe and the Caribbean. Passionate about storytelling and public speaking, he honed his skills as an orator through the Christopher Leadership Course and became one of its instructors. Later in life, John rekindled his love for singing and became a tenor with the Dukes of Harmony, Toronto’s renowned barbershop chorus, performing at Roy Thomson Hall among other places. A devout Catholic, John was active for many years in parishes in Port Colborne and Sudbury, serving as a lector and helping out in many other ways. John is survived by his wife, Phyllis; his son John (Julie), his daughter Karen (William), and his son Gregory (Amelia). He is also survived by six grandchildren whom he adored: Alexandra; Kristen; Mara; Sydney; Johnny; and Aaron. He is also survived by his sister, Kathleen, and was preceded in death by his brothers Lesley and Francis. Due to the current health situation, there was a private visitation. A memorial mass will be held on February 26, 2021 at St. George’s Catholic Church in Crystal Beach, Ontario. The family wishes to thank the medical staff at Welland General Hospital and Douglas Memorial Hospital for their dedication and kindness. In lieu of flowers, a donation in memory of John may be made to the charity of your choice. Online condolences can be left at
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